12 July 2013

Controlling Impulse Buys

"Do you realise that we could have put the new exhaust system on the Patrol with the money you've spent this month?" Wayne said with a huge grin on his face.

Lucky he was grinning or I may have thought he was telling me I'd spent too much money.

We were going over our spending for the last couple of weeks, making sure our Spending Plan was working and everything was hunky dory, or at least where it was supposed to be.

I have spent a lot of money in the last 3 weeks, but I had a budget for every single item and they all came in under budget (woo hoo!).  It was planned spending, saved for over many months.

You see we live by the $100/24 hour rule. 

What is the $100/24 hour rule? How does it work? It's simple really: if it's going to cost more than $100 we wait 24 hours before we buy it.

The spending was planned. We had a budget. We had a shopping list. We new what we were going to buy. We went shopping, chose the items we wanted and then came home and waited 24 hours before going back to buy them.

It might seem like over-kill, especially as we had planned these purchases.

What we found was that after looking at a couple of the things on the list, they weren't quite what we had in mind. We were able to find replacements for them, and two of those items were actually cheaper than what we'd initially chosen.

It meant we didn't buy in haste, repent at leisure.

Walking away from a major purchase (and we consider anything over $100 a major purchase) gives you time to decide whether you really want it, really need it, will really use it and can really afford it.

If, after 24 hours you can answer yes to all those questions, go back and get it.

If you can't, then think seriously about spending the money.

Chances are that after 24 hours you have forgotten all about the item, decided you don't really want/need/like it, or just plain can't be bothered going back to get it (in which case it would have been a regretted purchase without the 24 hour wait).

If the item is on sale, or there's only one or two in the store, ask to have it held for 24 hours. If you decide you are going to buy it, then go back and get it. If you decide you're not going to buy it, common courtesy would be to give the store a call and let them know you've changed your mind and thank them for their helpfulness.

Impulse buys can be fun, I've been known to make a few myself. But for anything that costs more than $100 wait just one day.

It's a good rule to live (and save) by.

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